Written by Shirley T
Tuesday, 07 October 2008 16:34
Early this week, the world had another shock with melamine related issue - melamine tainted vegetables or melamine contamination was reported in Korea on the fruits and vegetables imported from China. Sources from Taiwan News quoted that the affected vegetables on the melamine alert includes tomato, celery and mushroom.
So far, there is not much information on how melamine could be found in vegetables from China. In my opinion, I doubt melamine functions similarly like the case in melamine tainted milk products whereby it is aimed to increase the protein level. Unless it is used in vegetable protein or vegetable grains, perhaps it is very likely to falsify higher protein content using nitrogen-riched compound. From my quick research, I'd guess that the melamine contamination in raw vegetables is caused by uncontrolled usage or spray of insecticide onto these vegetables. This may lead to the huge content of melamine detected far above the permissible level. And the insecticide that widely used on animal and crops could be originated from cyromazine that is the derivative of melamine. Another possible source, melamine may be found in fertilizer (owing to its high nitrogen content) and this will definitely impact the root-based vegetables like potatos or onions.
Asian or South East Asian countries including Malaysia and Singapore are highly dependence on the raw vegetables from China and this alert should be considered seriously when purchasing the vegetable imported from China. Talking about vegetables purchase, I personally prefer the local/Australia produced carrots compares to China imported carrots. In my experience I have found that the carrots from China left hard-to-remove stain on my chopping board and juicer machine (my suspicious is that coloring additives may have been added to make the fruit look more fresh and healthy). I have stopped buying them since then. It also gave a strange plain taste unlike normal carrots. Most of my fellow friends and relatives do agree with me. If you encounter similar experience, please do share it here with us.
I guess it is time to work on our backyard to grow some fresh vegetables or fruits that are free from insecticide or pesticides. Being optimistic, this activity is in fact reducing carbon foot print besides stretching our muscles as well. Killing two birds with one stone. Looking at the bright note, there is always opportunity in every crisis!
Although we are combating on the melamine tainted milk products, vegetables or fruits by abstaining or rejecting these melamine tainted products, it is also time for us to reflect on the root cause of this problem. It was mainly due to immoral focus leveraging on nitrogen content to falsify higher protein level conducted using Dumas or Kjedalh tests. Shouldn't we move forward to measure protein level using a more reliable and accurate instrument instead? Sprint [TM] Rapid Protein Analyzer from CEM Corp claims that it is able to analyze the protein content more accurately capitalizing on protein tagging technology. Perhaps, it is time to throw away the old methodologies and adopt new invention especially for top food quality divisions in worldwide. A choice we have to make to move forward.
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